Fullerenes Inhibit Infection by Ebola Virus

A new breakthrough in biotechnology could have the potential to eradicate the Ebola virus infection. Through the construction of a supermolecule made up of 13 fullerenes, a new door has been opened in the world of antiviral agents.

A team from the Universidad Complutense de Madrid/IMDEA-Nanociencia (UCM) has designed a giant fullerene molecule, covered in carbohydrates. When the team tested the new supermolecule on an artificial Ebola virus model, the researchers saw a result that stops cell infection of Ebola.

The study was led by ECS member and UCM professor Nazario Martín.

“Fullerenes are hollow cages exclusively formed by carbon atoms,” says Martín.

This from UCM:

These molecules decorated with specific carbohydrates (sugars) present affinity by the receptor used as an entry point to infect the cell and act blocking it, thus inhibiting the infection. Researchers employed an artificial Ebola virus by expressing one of its proteins, envelope protein GP1, responsible of its entry in the cells. In a model in vitro, this protein is covering a false virus, which is able of cell infection but not of replication.

Read the full article.

Along with their success in the Ebola trials, researchers believe these giant fullerene molecules could see a future as antiviral agents of all kind.

ICYMI: Listen to ECS members talk about the future of fullerenes and nanocarbons.

“This work open the door to the design and preparation of new systems to inhibit the pathogens infection in cases where the current therapies are not effective or are inexistent, as occurs with the Ebola virus,” says Martín.

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